Things to do in Philadelphia
Sammi Crabill, School of Music Mentor
Do you go to Philadelphia often? Many freshmen are interested in exploring the city. What are some fun things to do in the city? What should they know about public transportation?
One of the coolest things about West Chester is our proximity to Philadelphia. So if you feel like taking a relaxing stroll through WC’s brick sidewalks to your favorite bakery, you can! Or if you’re looking for an exciting weekend in the city, Philly is an easy trip away! There are a number of ways to get into the city, but the best option for car-less freshman is definitely Septa bus service, which runs straight through campus! The bus can take money or subway tokens, which can be purchased in the bottom floor of Sykes Student Union, beside the ATM. Then just check route times and meet Bus 104 at the bus stop right in the center of campus, across from Ruby Jones Hall. Just ride the line through to the end, which is 69th Street Transportation Center. From there, you can take the Market-Frankford subway line into the city! It really is easy but I would suggest going with someone else for the first time, especially if you’ve never used public transport before. Another option is to find an upperclassman with a car and get a ride to the Exton train station, where you can take Amtrak right into 30th Street Station which is right in Center City Philadelphia. The train is more expensive, but a lot faster and more comfortable than the bus.
There are countless things to do in a city like Philadelphia but the main draw for most music majors are the concerts. Often, students can track down cheap or even free tickets to go see the Philadelphia Orchestra or Philly Pops at The Kimmel Center in Center City. It’s a great opportunity to see professional musicians at work, which is important for those going into that field. Plus, if you know the right professors you may be able to get a backstage tour! Besides those two ensembles, you can also see the Philadelphia Ballet or numerous off-Broadway shows at the Academy of Music. If you’re looking to see more popular and indie artists, Philly is the place to go. Venues such as Union Transfer, The Electric Factory, and The Mann Center often host big-name artists and bands who are cheap and easy to go see. So snoop around online and take advantage of our location… you can usually dig up good deals and it’s a great way to get off campus for a little!
If you’d prefer not to see performances in Philly, there are thousands of other options… The Philadelphia Art Museum is a full-day activity and on the first Sunday of every month, you can name your own price for admission! Other ideas… go to the Philadelphia Zoo, walk around Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill, visit UPenn’s beautiful campus, tap into your inner foodie and explore thousands of awesome restaurants, or get lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. Even just walking around and taking it all in can take up an entire day. Philadelphia is a great way to spend your weekends and it helps you to spread your roots, make connections, and get a better understanding of the music and art scene in our area. If you’re nervous about going into the city for the first time, ask around… chances are, you’ll find someone else who knows some tips or is even going too and can help you along!